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21 Mar 2005 : Column 529W—continued

HIV/AIDS

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support the Government are giving to the development and provision of (a) microbicides and (b) other HIV-prevention methods in his Department's aid programmes to the developing world. [221650]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID is providing a grant of £16 million (October 2001 to September 2006) to the Microbicide Development Programme (MDP) coordinated by the Medical Research Councils Clinical Trials Unit and Imperial College. DFID has also provided £18 million to International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and £1.3 million to International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM).

DFID is supporting a range of prevention interventions across the countries where we work. Our support depends on needs and demand at country level linked to the nature of the epidemic. We support a comprehensive country led approach to HIV prevention. We support governments to strengthen their health and social systems. We also provide specific support to delivering services via civil society, private sector and Government agencies. This covers a range of activities such as school education, harm reduction such as needle exchanges, and methadone replacement for intravenous drug users, voluntary counselling and testing, procurement and supply of sexual and reproductive health commodities and associated training and counselling. We encourage engagement of key stakeholders such as people living with HIV/AIDS, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users in developing and implementing services.

Access to reproductive health services and information is essential to preventing HIV infection and we support better integration of services for AIDS and sexual and reproductive health, so that they are complementary and not competitive. Sexual and reproductive health services are also a cornerstone of efforts to prevent HIV infection. DFID is a major donor of reproductive health commodities (including condoms), mainly through budgetary support to country strategies that include reproductive health but also via support for specific reproductive health programmes. We support social marketing programmes that distribute contraceptives and condoms for HIV prevention.

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 21 February 2005, Official Report, column 379W, on HIV/AIDS, if he will place in the Library the report of the Conference on Retroviral and Opportunistic Infections held in Boston USA in March. [222654]

Hilary Benn: I have arranged for the documents entitled Nevirapine Use for a Second Pregnancy Is Beneficial in Preventing Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV, When Compared to a Transmission rate of 25 per cent. Without Drug Use", Very Low Verical HIV Transmission Rates Possible in Africa" and Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV"
 
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which were presented at the Conference on Retrovirals and Opportunistic Infections held in Boston from 23 to 25 February this year, to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

TRANSPORT

Caravans

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the size of vehicle required to tow safely a caravan that has (a) twin axles and (b) triple axles. [222998]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 18 March 2005]: The Government have not carried out any assessment of vehicle size in relation to the towing of caravans.

The suitability of a vehicle to tow a caravan (regardless of the number axles) is determined by the vehicle manufacturers usually as a result of their research and development programmes. The vehicle manufacturer determines the maximum weight of the trailer (caravan) to be towed by the vehicle and displays this on the vehicle data plate as the maximum train weight. The maximum train weight is the overall combined laden weight of the vehicle and the caravan (trailer) which should not be exceeded in any circumstances when used on the highway.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the maximum (a) length and (b) width is of a caravan that can be legally towed. [223001]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 18 March 2005]: The maximum dimensions regarding the length and width of a caravan that can legally be towed on the roads of the UK is dependent on the maximum gross weight of thetowing vehicle.

Towing vehicles with a maximum gross weight of 3500kg or below are permitted to tow a caravan with a maximum length of 7 metres and a width of 2.3 metres.

Towing vehicles with a maximum gross weight exceeding 3500kg are permitted to tow a caravan with a maximum length of 12 metres provided it is fitted with at least four wheels. In all other cases the maximum length is 7 metres. The maximum width is 2.55 metres.

In either case the overall length of the towing vehicle and caravan combination must not exceed 18 metres or 18.75 metres if the towing vehicle was manufactured after 1 June 1998.

Myasthenia Gravis

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the eligibility of sufferers of myasthenia gravis for the Blue Badge scheme. [222131]

Charlotte Atkins: The Blue Badge scheme is designed primarily to assist people with severe difficulty in walking, whatever the cause of their disability. People who are registered blind also qualify under the Scheme. Drivers with a severe disability affecting both arms may also be eligible. Local authorities, which are responsible for administering the Scheme, will decide on an
 
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individual's eligibility on the basis of these criteria. People with myasthenia gravis will be eligible for a badge if they meet the criteria.

Railways

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers used Leicester railway station in (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005 in (i) morning peak hours, (ii) evening peak hours and (iii) off-peak hours. [222897]

Mr. McNulty: The only available figures held centrally are based on a passenger count on departures from Leicester station taken for one day in November 2004.
Number
AM Peak (7am to 10am)1,972
PM Peak (4pm to 7pm)2,454
Off Peak (6am to 7am, 10am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm)3,444
Total7,870

Roadside Accidents

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will assess the merits of requiring car occupants to wear reflective jackets compliant to standard EN471 when leaving their vehicle at the roadside, except where the vehicle is parked; and if he will make a statement; [222261]

(2) if he will take steps to require car occupants leaving their vehicle by the roadside, except when the vehicle is parked, to wear reflective jackets compliant to standard EN471; and if he will make a statement; [222262]

(3) if he will make it a requirement that drivers carry at least one reflective jacket in their cars; and if he will make a statement. [222320]

Mr. Jamieson: We do not make it a requirement for any road user to wear reflective clothing. However, we do advise vulnerable road users—pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horseriders—to wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night to improve their visibility to other road users. This advice is contained in the Highway Code.

Drivers are generally less vulnerable. But the Code gives advice to them on where they should stand should their vehicle breakdown, with special advice for motorways. Our leaflet, A Guide to Safer Motorway Driving", also contains the advice on what to do when vehicles break down on motorways. While there are tragic accidents when drivers leave their vehicles, these are rare. We believe that drivers and occupants are not at great risk when they follow this advice—for example, for motorways they are advised to wait on a nearby bank or verge well away from the traffic. We therefore do not believe that we should go further and require the wearing of special clothing.

Speed Cameras

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what compensation will be payable to (a) companies engaged in the supply of and (b) those
 
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who have bought equipment which detects the presence of speed cameras in the event of such equipment beingoutlawed under the provisions of the Road Safety Bill. [222700]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government signalled their intentions in January 2001. The provision contained within the Road Safety Bill regarding speed assessment equipment detection devices would allow regulations to be made which would allow the continued use of Global Positioning Systems which contribute to road safety by informing drivers of the location of published safety camera sites. The provisions are designed to deal with devices whose purpose, or one of the purposes of which, is to detect or interfere with the operation of all police enforcement equipment used to assess the speed of motor vehicles.

It would be inappropriate to compensate companies engaged in the supply, or users of equipment that enabled drivers to ignore speed limits and flout the law with impunity endangering other road users.


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